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Spirituality and The Ways it Differ from Religion Case Study

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Introduction: Spirituality and The Ways it Differ from Religion

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This study has been focused to extrapolate and contemplate the spirit of the dictum and the vast differences retained by spirituality with respect to religion. it has been observed that both spirituality and religion have diversified debatable prospects due to sharing distinguished familiar features. Thus, it can be stated that belief, comfort, ethics and reflection are pointed out as common elements of both dimensions. Therefore, this study has been focused to deliver a clear and concise definition of spirituality and religion from the perspective of social science. However, the approach of addressing dis-similarities between religion and spirituality can lead to a concrete path of exploring and inheriting spirituality. Hence, distinct features of religion and spirituality have been effectively extracted and critically discussed through the segment of the discussion.

Thesis Statement: Spirituality and religion share a few common elements and distinguished features despite that both differ from each other. 


The scholar "Ninian Smart" have argued that religion has been comprised of 7 distinguished features cum dimensions such as mythological, ritual, ethical, social, material, doctrinal and experiential. In contrast to the dimension of ritual, traditional and deliberated activities or actions associated with an individual or community can be noticed. Besides that, the mythological dimension of religion is responsible for the proliferation of teachings and stories of religious belief (Singleton, 2014). The doctrines' dimensions have been responsible for the representation of morality, practice and belief aspects of religion. Therefore, religion can be described as a system that acts upon concrete pervasive, motivations and long-lasting moods through the formulation of the concept of existence. 

On the other hand, some contemporary scholars in the field of religion have started treating spirituality as part of religion and also beyond religion. However, modern-day scholars have coined out that religion and spirituality have different dimensions and refer to different elements. Marler and Hadaway, 2002 stated that spirituality can be defined as meaningful consciousness or experience endorsement for something beyond individuality. Robert Wuthnow one of the greatest sociologists have proposed a comparatively familiar explanation of spirituality. According to Robert, spirituality refers to a state of alignment of individuality with divine or transcendent propulsion of reality (Paradies, 2020). Therefore, in contrast to both statements, it can be stated that a wide range of people have the core belief that the practice of spirituality can be possible without religion. Thus, a few examples can be illustrated such as tai-chi, yoga and reincarnation have a major role in terms of practising spirituality. 

It has been observed that the world has been enriched with numerous traditional religions and has ethno-religion nature. Thus, ethnic and cultural factors were closely bounded to religious recognition. However, in the case of spirituality, no such bars of ethnic and cultural factors can be noticed. The individual has sole choice of approach for practising a spiritual activity and may or might not follow any specific religion. In contrast to the scenario, it can be contemplated that religion has a critical role in terms of emphasizing spirituality. The core reason behind this is faith or belief act as a common feature of religion and spirituality (Hedges, 2021). Besides that, it can be also narrated as per the exploration the practice of spirituality is also can be performed without being any stakeholder in a religious community. 

The religion of different dialects such as Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and many more thus the practice of religion involves a specific set of practices and beliefs shared and performed by any particular category. Another side, characteristics of Spirituality reflect individual practice and spirituality retained a major objective in terms of achieving sense of purpose and peace (Van Niekerk, 2018). The practice of spirituality inherits a core belief with respect to the extraction of meaning of life and seeking connection with all the forms of life.

Therefore, it can be stated that spirituality and religion have different verses despite that a significant relationship between those can be noticed. In order to contemplate the relationship between spirituality and religion, an illustration based on a football game can be narrated. It has been observed that in a football game, referees, players, rules and field markings guide to play the concerned game (Malone and Dadswell, 2018). In view of guidance, religion familiarly guides a person towards a journey of spirituality. On the other hand, football can be used to play individually across park, roads and fields without any team, regulations or obligation. Thus, This approach to playing also can deliver fun and fulfilment of the sense or expression of essence to any person (Counted and Zock, 2019). Hence, this approach to playing is also familiar or shares identical features with spiritual practices. 

A vast number of religions and religious communities can be noticed across the globe that shares different aspects of divinity. Along with that religion also connects with multiple elements such as mythological, material and ritual in terms of practice and assistance. Besides that, spirituality also has a different category such as mystical spirituality reflects a desire to move forward from a materialistic approach (Paul Victor and Treschuk, 2020). It has been explored that many people have considered spirituality as a procedure of finding or achieving peace and solace. In contrast to the scenario, it can be stated that spirituality has been founded based on a practical approach of seeking eternity, purpose and peace through individual journeys (Astrachan et al. 2020). Hence, it can be stated that spirituality has a relationship with religion however, both are not the same. 


This study has critically discussed the difference between religion and spirituality and extracted the relationship between them. It has been observed that spirituality discards worry and vestiges of fear in order to proliferated compassionate prospects of life. As per the discussion, it can be stated that the objectives of religion reflect the inheritance of observance and house of worship. Besides that, the objective of spirituality reflected, internalization or self-referral of individuality. Thus, it can be stated that the above-contemplated thesis statement has shared a positive outcome with respect to the discussion. Hence, it can be stated that Spirituality and religion share a few common elements and distinguished features despite that both differ from each other.


  • Astrachan, J.H., Binz Astrachan, C., Campopiano, G. and Baù, M., 2020. Values, spirituality and religion: Family business and the roots of sustainable ethical behavior. Journal of Business Ethics163(4), pp.637-645.
  • Counted, V. and Zock, H., 2019. Place spirituality: An attachment perspective. Archive for the Psychology of Religion41(1), pp.12-25.
  • Hedges, P.M., 2021. Understanding Religion: Theories and Methods for Studying Religiously Diverse Societies. University of California Press.
  • Malone, J. and Dadswell, A., 2018. The role of religion, spirituality and/or belief in positive ageing for older adults. Geriatrics3(2), p.28.
  • Paradies, Y., 2020. Unsettling truths: modernity,(de-) coloniality and Indigenous futures. Postcolonial Studies23(4), pp.438-456.
  • Paul Victor, C.G. and Treschuk, J.V., 2020. Critical literature review on the definition clarity of the concept of faith, religion, and spirituality. Journal of Holistic Nursing38(1), pp.107-113.
  • Singleton, A., 2014. Religion, Culture & Society: A Global Approach. Religion, Culture & Society, pp.1-272.
  • Van Niekerk, B., 2018. Religion and spirituality: What are the fundamental differences?. HTS: Theological Studies74(3), pp.1-11.
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